my friends were feeling-seeking

some playgrounds shoot splinters
some bathrooms eat drugs

the first time you saw a mechanical pencil, things were hi-tech
any letter could jump 3-D

a car made the outside fast
the seasons pushed people around

if it was gym we bounced up a rope
we smelled the basketball

you got chicken pox
then you got Bar Mitzvahed

you got a dog or a car

the cops were to make us laugh
a hottub was to get us naked

a cigarette scared your mother
a icecream cake you
a skeeball ball you

this you in the bleachers
with the not cool kids you

in the group picture you
your binder a masterpiece
your life a
your grade a

my friends wore hobbies
they didn't meet new people


the fog

the fog got my car
first the windows
then I was pushed into the brush

the fog was thick and clingy
'God?' I said, opening my window

the fog grumbled

I was old for my age
and sort of done with myself
I'd broken my personality down on a website
now it was there in front of everyone, like a code

the fog heaved a breath
my eyes felt good and humid

I could hear the bugs sounding their voodoo
my headlights shone like banners

all my life I'd collected boyfriends
I'd thought they were frozen in time
like I could hop back and revive them

this delusion glowed from the website
A memory, I wrote, is not a full-size moment
its small, and in a corner
the original view is lost

I was tired of the body's realities
cooking shows had defeated my instinct to eat
I'd expected to walk open-armed into some job
but that was another smooth delusion

with the fog inside, my car was the outdoors
in this town the sky knew it was in charge
no buildings got near it

I opened the door and the fog was waiting
a God wouldn't do that, single me out
'before' there were less people

it could have been a terrorist plan
it did do a job of disorienting me

I sensed it could tell how my thoughts rushed back to myself
even when offline, I cruised that website

the fog hung around
and I knew it was inanimate
because it asked nothing of me

Brown University Weirdos Alex Carnevale and Will Hubbard put out the 3rd issue of CapGun


whoever gets you outta the house, go with them now

an astrologer is way different than an astronomer
an astronomer eats pastrami and pushes to see further

we felt big
Saturn was tiny

in its magic box
Saturn looked simple like a sticker
spookier than a dead person's syllabus

if not knowledgeable
I'm sure honest
I'm here
I'm female


Saturn was cute
super cute

if we had guns
we would have shot down stars
but we are artistic
we are aware

Saturn is small as this cursor
and with less shading

a bar gives us new lighting
so we evaluate the lighting
we can't help it
we are too human
nodding, helpful, sue us

I saw Saturn it was 1-D, it was 2

this planet was baby
we looked into a machine instead of the sky
it was not a very visual visual


the body

the knee was swollen

the hands got pins and needles
the leg muscle was twitching

the body has its own stash of pins and needles
but uses it sparingly

noses have holes
ears have holes

the mind might imagine the body was hollow
was just a soft shell
but everything in there disagrees

the body is liquid
and mushy and
massive and pumping
growling and gurgling and
locking and stretching
like putty and pushing and fatty and water
and dreary
like pizza and swamp thing, its pulsing, its veiny and oozing, the body is browning, its up late and flowing
surrounding the skeleton
blindly its waiting


Its always someone's birthday

i stayed up late with the blog in the hospital

it was bloated and big

for every day, there is a response in stuff
I thought
plastics and text messages
a dish does its job
then looks icky in the sink

the blog was incoherent
it didn't mean what it said

pregnancy gives you a door prize
it insisted

I felt sad and wanted to leave

the blog said, its a birthday, i can't tell it, but i know somewhere, i can see all of them, everyone's day, i know the symbols, im glad for words, im glad i had them, my early years, a grand mistake, a bullet makes big moves, a friend can wither, a computer, a computer

the blog bled
i called the nurse

the nurse said
the problem is its a part of you
its connected through tissue
we've seen this before
its not unusual
we can do a procedure
your insurance would cover it
there's a video
we could film it
so you could hold on
its a hard decision
i've taken the liberty of making an appointment
talk to the counsler and see what you ultimately want
in this day and age
of course
i understand
ill give you a moment


Heroes are dead

I'd rather talk to them than to god. I hope they are watching me instead of god. If you get your body exactly where one of theirs has been, then nothing happens, nothing like what you'd want, nothing crazy magic, or Disney, epic or Hollywood, or montage-happy, nothing day shaking, but there is half-magic, something a little, a little bit something, more then nothing, a nice sky, a squirrel eating cream cheese, middle-magic, day magic, a friendly roll, a one-time tradition.
To take your life, you make a knot of it, pulling yourself towards yourself, letting there be no more room. To give your life you let the knot undo, strings fall single, and all this is night-magic, its novel length, it stops pinball games, it makes a mini-apocalypse, absurd freedom, the future as pointlessly extravagent, each day meandering in a huge USA size hole.

Van called

Van called and was sad. He said, "Come stay in my house while they are gone, no one will be here. I need people." I laughed. I could stay there. I could stay in a nice room in that house. It could be home-base while I went out in the city and met up with people. "Okay yeah," I said. He said, "Tell me when you know when you are coming, so I can get other people to come for the rest. I can’t be alone here." "You just want me to feed the pets while you are at work!" I teased. "I have no pets." This was so sad it was funny. I laughed at Van. "You have no pets!" I repeated. He considered. "Maybe if I had some pets." He sat there on the other end of the line. "Maybe that would be better." "Yeah, of course that would be better, I mean my friend, she lives alone, yeah pets, I don’t know."

I told Hank right after, I said, "Van called and was so sad. My friend Van! He wants people to stay in his house!" Hank was behind a door. I got dressed and listened to music. The music was so inspiring. The music said Life will be exciting and satisfying, at least for you. My hair looked really good. "Hurry up Hank," I said. "Are you ready?" I asked. I put the song on repeat. "I’m not ready," I said. I looked in the mirror and posed. I pretended I was in a real situation for the mirror, but really there was no situation in the room.

In the car Hank was sad. He would not respond. I asked what was wrong and nothing. I knew what was wrong. He was behind a door in the car. He was nonplussed so I joked on the ride there. The others waved at me from their car. The ones we were meeting. Hank got out and walked into the restaurant. He did not wait. The others walked towards me beaming, pleased with themselves. "Hank is sad," I told them. I did not know why really.

Inside, Hank sat stone-faced from behind his door. He acted bitterly towards the restaurant and I immediately sprang in defense. We felt reverence for the restaurant, but Hank complained to the waitress. The others started to fool around. They made any joke and bad jokes. I felt dulled by them and this. I knew my hair looked good, but I couldn’t see it. They were ruining the restaurant.

Then at the bar, Hank rallied back. I got the best parking spot in the world. Right in front! The others looked at me sly across the room. I played pool like some girl villain that kills with her legs. Then the bartender told me to get my butt off the table. The others were across the room. Bill was moving to some music. The music wasn’t saying anything to me. I was sad. The room darkened in the sadness. The sadness expanded and welled. Tears reeled up and my eyes felt close together. I walked towards a wall. It did not go away. I did not care about my hair. Every person was a person I knew mostly. I did not want to get inside them. They saw me and they approached. They coached me. But it did not help.


This town

this town is soggy

clouds die on the curb

girls get self-conscious
and duck into CVS

everyone is immortalized in a boring paragraph

Thomas walks in the snow. His feet are cold

God gives Seth a sign and baptizes his blog
his poems are erased, and he starts over

Irene and Betsy wait at the golf course. One is dressed inappropriately.

If the writing is too wild, each sentence is on fire
each phrase is spiky and activated and too fascinating
Smith girls put the book down to take a spiritual pause

Jefferson started a secret blog, one where he could keep his real feelings.
The blog was a baby, was brand new, was blank and gurgling

the writers have a reading every night for two weeks
they are the audience and on stage at the same time
they read in the sandwich shop and the sandwiches droop

Irene looked for a new blog. One where there would be truth, and it would be ruthless. There would be art that was not for sale.

Jefferson writes, my window is Nature's blog, it is always updating, its visitors- some don't have eyes, some crawl on grass, the neighbor's dog eats snow

I started seeing a taxi in this town
it was a blue van like from a dream
it went into this town
and left this town
but you couldn't call it up


The first picture

This is the first picture of the internet. We were all in life, and then there was this picture, and then there was the internet. The internet was like a skin on top of our skin. This picture is a postcard from the Old Testament. It sold well back then, it was like a fact, but it was prettier. This family was at the zoo, and they were the zoo. The scientists who made these skins were just having fun. They weren't getting paid by Rutgers University, they weren't trying to trick anyone. The family in this picture laughed in this picture. Here they all were, but it was them plus them. They were like a family on a board game box, pretending to be a family. They couldn't help but be a family. They couldn't stop being one.

The body it was lumpy

it was not mine, it was older. To remove a hair, it must get struck by lightning. The Cinemark kept showing movies, but there were little cut marks on the film. There were neon lines blinking across. This wasn't that Stan Brak?ag?e? shit. This was a mistake.

That game where you guess how many minutes are left on the meter, where you loosely add up the time, but then grab the number nearest to you. Today I lost at that game.

I went into the bathroom at Bruegers. I only feel self-assured in Bruegers. I need an excuse to get into the weather. If no task asks, I stay inside. I'm jealous of the mice in my walls who are friends.

If we all have this lump, the hanging down thing hanging down low in our throats, clear iron spit in the sink, then I say we're weak. We're weak and heavy, this town has us and keeps us, we're sick and living, its really unoriginal.


There was me

There was the kid, there was me. I called him Screwball, I said hey mr., anything i said was a joke. I hit the jackpot, but there were so many. A bar held everything briefly. I drove home and forgot how I got there. I lost at pool. I lost at darts. It didn't feel anything like losing. I had a body that didn't work, but dudes couldn't tell, I was a performance inside of clothing. When you are young you get naked on the roof, any kid fumbling with a bra you're hysterical at, you won't let that go, but who was counting bras? Who hadn't had enough bras? We were sick of Bob Dylan whining through our computers. When we were down, we turned them to him. He was always there, holding a mug, sitting in a tree, he was not embarassed. He was better, but we were better looking. This was going to be post-dylan. This was going to be big. But it was hard to get it started. Memories dug their heels in. Our parents kept calling and reminding us who we were. Phonecalls were free, and there were so many.


theres an awesome guggenheim gunfight scene in the movie International

that got me thinking again, why do we love to see art ruined? We want bullets to make visual impact when they miss their targets? (See the bullet? it would have totally killed that dude, butt instead it killed that cake!)

Gunfights go with chase scenes, and an exciting chase scene includes using objects that happen to be in the environment. The person being chased will flip over a fruit stand so the ones in pursuit trip over cantaloupes. Ours is a goofy world filled with what we eat, and drive, and happen to have built around. A fight is spontaneous. It is 3-D. A bird could help one side by mistake. We've been following the movie characters so intently, that its funny and real feeling when a stranger of the movie, some girl crying to her boyfriend, gets in the way of the chase.

The audience lives vicariously through the
movie. The inadvertent target represents the audience. We connect with screaming extras, we could easily be in the convenience store, it includes us.

Also, art takes a long time to make, and we act so precious about it, so the art deserves to die. Art is unmade by these mistake marks, and sin
ce we must eventually die, we like to see that art can die also. This life is so ordered and lawwed. Movie gunfight scenes force disorder on an environment, and we the audience don't have to clean up this mess. A messy chase scene calls to the cafeteria food fight. A chase scene usually implies possible death, but the chase can be a crazed desperate last dash through life.

A gunshot presents a question. The b
ullet could go a number of places. The bullet was usually shot with human aim, and this variable leaves the outcome temporarily unknown.

Tonight I watched the movie "The Getaway" (1972) and there were tons of gunfights and the blood in the movie was a red lighter than real blood. Lighter than ketchup. I loved this. It made the movie funner to watch. Maybe you thought blood in the 70's blood was a different color. Maybe it was a special kind of film. Probably you didn't think this. But the light blood lent the movie a slightly different reality.

a poem i like that Landman wrote

My Friends:

It had been years since I had written a poem. A stone's throw from my front porch, a momentous car pulled up along the sidewalk. I asked out loud, "What in the hell is going on here?" I felt the wind coming from across the graveyard. I could hear--let me try this like this--I can hear the traffic from the highway at night. It is a distance away. I can't tell you. No, you cannot hear it, are mistaken. A front porch since my car crash, I sit there every hour. I go out there and cycle back through choices. I asked, of course, of traffic, what sort of belly do you have? It settles. Is it settled? A sidewalk does what in a frost heave? Is this appropriate? To ask a baby? Right here, I peek out the window at the front porch. The house is dastardly and floats on a hill. What a hill. Photographs. There are no answers to front porch traffic. You can't hear the highway at night. The cars come, so I wish to be a car, out loud. Crash, floats the hill. House, say the bees. The graveyard is in hell, you know. Here is going on, like a distance the trees settle on before cars. When I see the redwoods, I settle on a front porch reaction. I can ask lots of the hours. In the belly of giving back, cycle back, sort of photographic. It's a memory of a memory. The shudder of shatter.



My story "Doodle Face" is in the new Barrelhouse. If you want to buy it you can click this underlined word.

Today I had the pleasure of joining young publisher Seth Landman go collect his new books from the press. These are: Invisible Ear 3, and Beethoven of Smells (A.S. Parker's chapbook). I got to help number these babies and I was impressed! Find Landman at AWP and give him a hard time!


American Short Fiction

My story

Iconographic Conventions of Pre- and Early Renaissance:

Italian Representations of the Flagellation of Christ

is in
the new issue of American Short Fiction.

Also, a bunch of Western Mass's bone-yard bunch are in this new chapbook edited by Sara Blaylock

Also, the lakers beat the celtics in overtime last night by one point.